June 24, 2020
Joint Statement of the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists on new FDA action to Remove Emergency Use Authorization of Medications to Treat COVID-19
The American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists issued a statement “emphasizing that the FDA’s recent announcement to cancel the emergency use authorizations for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for certain hospitalized patients with COVID-19 does not apply to other evidence-based uses of these medications for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.” These organizations advocate for policies that ensure patients who take hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are able to continue their care.
The three organizations advocate for policies that ensure patients who take hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are able to continue their care without difficulties.
A survey conducted by the Lupus Research Alliance had identified that more than one third of people with lupus experienced significant issues filling their hydroxychloroquine prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hydroxychloroquine shortages in March and April coincided with early data broadly reported in the media suggesting possible benefit for hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent COVID-19.
“To help alleviate and prevent a similar situation in the future, the LRA has emphasized to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies how the hydroxychloroquine shortage impacted people who rely on the drug,” noted Dr. Gary Koretzky, Vice Provost for Academic Integration, Cornell University, Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Chair of the Lupus Research Alliance Scientific Advisory Board. “We were pleased to put this issue on the radar for our colleagues at the FDA as it is clear that there is interest in closely monitoring how patients with lupus are faring.”
Dr. Koretzky added that the LRA is also aware of media reports about hydroxychloroquine side effects reported in COVID-19 patients. He urged lupus patients prescribed hydroxychloroquine “to remember that their rheumatologists have suggested this medication because of its effectiveness in treating disease and its well-demonstrated safety profile.” He cautioned that patients should certainly discuss their personal situation with their physician before discontinuing this or any other medication.